Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy blasted the “For the People Act” on Tuesday during a “Fox & Friends” interview, calling it a “Screw the People Act.”
“This is an extraordinarily cynical bill, in my opinion, even by Washington standards. It’s very ruthless, even by Washington standards,” Kennedy said.
“Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Schumer call it, I think, the ‘For The People Act’ but I think it would be more aptly described as the ‘Screw the People Act.’ It will make it much easier to cheat in an election,” he added.
Kennedy colorfully criticized the idea of handing the control of voting procedures to the federal government.
“Now, why anybody would take something that’s working and give it to the federal government is beyond me,” he said. “The federal bureaucracy can’t even stop scam calls or spam calls.”
He added, “But nonetheless, if you turn our voting procedure over to the federal government, I guarantee you the first thing they are going to do is get rid of voter ID. And I think most Americans believe that you should have to prove who you say you are when you go to vote.”
The new legislation has passed in the House and is under discussion for a vote in the Senate. However, the bill is unlikely to pass as it would need a 60-vote supermajority to overcome a Republican filibuster.
The current Senate is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. In addition to unanimous Republican opposition, at least one key Democratic senator opposes the bill.
West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin published a lengthy Op-Ed in the Gazette-Mail of Charleston, West Virginia, on June 6 that was headlined, “Why I’m voting against the For the People Act.”
“The right to vote is fundamental to our American democracy and protecting that right should not be about party or politics,” Manchin wrote.
“Least of all, protecting this right, which is a value I share, should never be done in a partisan manner,” the senator added.
The three new major provisions would make election day a public holiday, ban partisan gerrymandering and require voter ID in order to vote, while providing alternative acceptable ID forms (like utility bills).
Only seven states have strict photo ID requirements in order to vote on election day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Manchin’s support for mandatory ID laws could create divisions within the Democratic Party as its members seek to push the bill through the Senate.
Two Democratic aides familiar with Manchin’s views told the Post that he opposes the controversial public financing system for congressional elections present in the “For the People Act.”
“I’ve been sharing everything that I support and things I can support and vote with and things that I think is in the bill that doesn’t need to be in the bill, that doesn’t really interact with what we’re doing in West Virginia,” Manchin told reporters last week, according to the Post.
“We’ll have to see what changes are made.”
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